See our page on Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources to learn what Primary Sources are!
Finding Primary Sources in the Library (print and electronic)
If you are looking for something specific, search the library's collection by author or title in OMNI.
If you are not sure what you are looking for, do an advanced search in OMNI
Search for the following terms as KEYWORDS or to narrow down, search as SUBJECT:
- To find any kind of primary source: sources or documents (examples: medieval sources, civil war documents, papal sources)
- Personal accounts, autobiographies, or memoirs: personal narratives or autobiography or memoir (examples: Pearl Harbor personal narratives, battle of the bulge memoir, autobiography world war II)
- Letters: correspondence or letters (examples: Civil War correspondence, French revolution letters)
- Diaries: diary (examples: Civil War diary, woman diary France)
- Oral history: interview or oral history or speeches (examples: Cold War interview, Japanese internment oral history, Malcolm X speeches)
- Pamphlet: pamphlet (examples: suffrage pamphlet, rights of women pamphlet)
- Photographs or artwork: pictorial works (examples: Chicago pictorial works, World's Fair pictorial works)
You can also search OMNI and narrow by Resource Type. The following should bring Primary Sources:
- Archival material
- Newspaper Articles
Remember that almost any type of resources (books/articles etc) can be primary as long it is written or produced during the time period that the event you are researching has happened. For example: a newspaper article about the Titanic published in April 1912 is primary. A newspaper article on the Titanic published in 2012 is NOT primary.
In OMNI you can narrow by publication date as well.
Search in Relevant Databases
Below is a core list of primary source databases the library offers.
See the List of Archives and Primary Sources Databases
- African Newspapers (1800-1922)
- Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Catalog (mostly available in microfilm format)
- Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports (1941-1996)
- Globe and Mail: Canada's Heritage from 1844 (1844-2015)
- The Guardian - UK (1821-2003)
- Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003)
- Maclean's (1905-present)
- Newspapers of the French Revolution 1848
- New York Times Archives (1851-2015)
- The Observer - UK (1791-2003)
- Ottawa Citizen (1845-2010)
- Sunday Times Digital Archive - UK (1822-2006)
- Times Digital Archive - UK (1785-1985)
- Toronto Star: Pages of the Past (1894-2016)
- Wall Street Journal (1889-2002)
- Washington Post (1877-2002)
For more current material see: News Databases Page
Databases: Archives and Primary Sources
Databases: Government Information